Call Centre Bingo- tips for better outcomes

Moved house this week. This means lots of call centre experiences. How to have better ones…

Random Call Centre pic: from

Random Call Centre pic: from

    1. Investigate complaints boards, frequent flyer forums and Tripadvisor to see if other people have had the same issue. Sometimes, you can get a quick tip or have information for the operator on how to solve the problem or be told who the best contact is. If it is clear that no one else has had success using a particular route, then do not waste your time duplicating fruitless efforts
    2. Learn how that company works.     ContactHelp caGetHuman have information on average call wait times and the quickest way to get to a real human. (NB These are mostly USA based companies). 
    3. Cut wait times. Some companies offer to call you back- I find very rarely have they called me back in a satisfactory time and some have never called me back. Lucy Phone allows you to call a company and then it sits on hold for you -connecting when the company actually answers the phone. Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 10.26.58 am
    4. Be Nice – no matter how frustrated you are with the company, diving in aggressively with a call centre operator does not actually get you better results. Ask how their day is and inject some humour at the start of the call. I can easily clown around with my date of birth because I am so much older than the average operator! With Indian call centre operators, I talk about the cricket. With Filipino centres I mention my favourite Filipino foods! South African ones, I talk about the spectacular countryside
    5. Write down the name of the operator and use their name in a friendly fashion- don’t be smart and ask for their date of birth and last name etc etc You would be surprised how few people treat their call centre contact with respect
    6. Do mention that you have been a customer for xxx years and how much you have enjoyed their service while expressing surprise that on this occasion, things have not worked out.  Get them to understand taht you are a reasonable loyal customer. It is at this point I like the magic phrase: “As a token of our thanks for being such a loyal customer, I am going to waive that fee/reduce that cost/credit your account.” happy customerNever use the phrases: “Don’t you know who I am?” or “I am never using this company again
    7. Don’t eat or chew while on the phone. Those sounds are magnified and very irritating for an operator
    8. Have your info ready: being ready with account numbers, dates of birth, flight numbers, passengers names etc reduces frustration on the part of the operator and gives you a sense of control.
    9. Don’t give your life story- just give the facts. They do not need a rant documenting every operator you have spoken to and every frustration you have ever had. Concise facts help the operator to start helping you immediately.
    10. A rule that I have held onto for a long time, is that if I do not get the answer I want, I call back. No arguing with the first person. Just a calm thanks.Despite what call centre managers tell me, some call centre staff are more helpful or more knowledgable than others.  When you get someone who is both more helpful and more knowledgeable that is a serious bingo win! That person has got me seats that do not exist, waived fees that I should have not been charged and a better rate than other call centre staff.
    11. Get a case number or a ticket number
    12. When being transferred from one operator to another, ask  for a “warm” transfer where they provide info and identify you

Got any other tips for dealing with customer service effectively? Love to see your comments.

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  1. This is really good advice, although, as a former call centre employee (for my sins!), I do have a slight issue with number 4. In most cases, call centres have time constraints on calls which they pursue vigorously with operators, pressuring them aggressively to keep times for calls under certain limits. While a pleasant caller is SO welcome, joking and being asked how your day is only adds to the time which the operator will have to justify to his/her supervisor if over the limit. For that reason, I also definitely agree with points 8 & 9. Also point 7 is so spot on, and I would add, do not call with noise in the background (TV, radio, kids, etc) as the sound is magnified to the receiver like you wouldn’t believe. I love rule 10 – that is so true, but I wouldn’t have thought of just hanging up and trying someone else, but it is a great idea. Love the Lily Tomlin video, btw!

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